Saturday, January 26, 2013

1/14/2012- 1/26/2012 LEE STOCKING ISLAND TO GEORGE TOWN AND SURROUNDING ANCHORAGE



1/14/2013 TO 1/26/2013

With the winds dying down enough to release Quest from being pinned to the Little Farmer’s Cay dock, we found ourselves more than ready to be back out cruising the sheltered Bahamas Bank and spending a few night moored.  Today’s travels brought us past Cave Cay with its relatively new marina that we must check out in the near future, Musha Cay that is owned by David Copperfield, Rudder Cut Cay, Darby Island, way in the distance we glimpsed Goat Cay owned by Tim McGraw, Block Cay, Leaf Cay with it population of pink iguanas and Normans Pond Cay before completing our 23 NM journey and arriving at Lee Stocking Island. 

After calling out several times to the Perry Institute of Marine Science (on Lee Stocking) for permission to use their mooring balls, we were alerted by another boater that there was no one at the institute.  This has been the site for the Caribbean Marine Research Center and we toured the little facility two years ago when one of the projects they were working on was the Lionfish.  I am not sure what is going on but the facilities is being rapped and pillaged, quickly becoming a useless mess.  The first day we walked through Dan spotted a pile of copper cable in an inconspicuous area that had been burned to remove the coating and the next day it had been removed, most likely headed for a huge payoff in scrap metal.  The pallet of computer gear setting outside seemed to sum up the sad state of affairs.

LEE STOCKING ISLAND AND THE PERRY INSTITUTE

After a little research I found that the institute was started by John H. Perry Jr. (1917-2006 ) of newspaper publication prominence.  Cute story I read about his first personal sized submersibles in the 1950s.   In a garage workshop on Lake Worth in Florida, he cobbled together his first project.  Good idea but not quite seaworthy.  The Perry Submersible Number 2, made with welded materials and more research, responded to his commands and was declared a success.  While still gloating he felt a sudden thump of contact.  He surfaced, threw open the hatch and found that they had collided with a small passing fishing boat.  Of course the poor guy couldn’t see the submerged vessel so Mr. Perry gushed with apologizes, both men checked out their respective crafts and then went their own ways.  Back on shore and a few hours later he received a phone call from the U.S. Coast Guard wondering if he was possibly a threat to navigation because they had just spent several hours rescuing a fisherman and raising his sunken boat.  Not only was his experimental voyage a success in that it floated and submerged on command but he sank a boat too!!!  His insurance company saw no humor in the situation and cancelled every casualty policy they had with Mr. Perry.
In 1957 Mr. Perry and fellow investors purchased Lee Stocking Island after investigating an unusual advertisement in the Wall Street Journal.  The island proved to be the perfect setting for research that would range from the propagation of shellfish, to the advanced forms of developing food fish, to studying ways of controlling the voracious Lionfish.  The institute also promoted conservation and a self-sufficient environment by desalination of sea water for drinking, using solar energy as well as wind to power the island as much as possible.

On 1/17 we ventured from Lee Stocking Island, cruised by some kind of happening at Children’s Bay then shot out Rat Cay Cut to make our travels south out in the Bahama Sound. While the wind was definitely down, it was an exciting ride when the outgoing tide met the incoming waves in the cut.  Hang on!!

ALGONQUIN IN THE CUT WITH THE CALM BANK BEHIND
AND THE TURBULENT  SOUND AHEAD

Traveling down the eastern side of Great Exuma Island brought us to George Town, population of about 1,000, and the newly reopened Great Exuma Yacht Club.   Eddie Irvine, former Formula 1 race car participant has bought the old place and is struggling to bring new life to it.  The docks are being repaired or replaced, the fuel services has been resumed, the bar and restaurant are hopping and folks are showing up. 
George Town is the place to provision up at the wonderful Exuma Market, grab some cash at the Scotia or RBC banks, visit the laundry mat, restock your liquor cabinet, shop the Bahamian Tel facility,  hear some fun music and eat some good Bahamian food.  We did all of the above then headed out on the1/20 to anchor for a few days at Red Shank Anchorage between Crab Cay, Moss Cay and George Devine Cay.  One of our afternoons was spent at the Stocking Island’s Volleyball Beach where we chowed down on some fresh made conch salad, watched volleyball and spent much of our time gawking at the large number of boaters coming and going.
Back at the EYC docks on 1/24 to provision for our visit from Steven, both Dan and I got haircuts and dined at the EYC‘s lovely dining room.  Who knew??  Neither of us had ventured up to the dining room but it was tastefully decorated and the food was way above par.  I had the best Caesar Salad. 
We are all provisioned, laundry done, and cleaning complete.  The Quest is ready to make a run for it tomorrow, weather permitting.


GEORGE TOWN


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